Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, May 25, 2015
Final Chapter In Judicial Selection Commission List Public Records Case
By Robert Thomas @ 10:23 PM :: 5259 Views :: Ethics, First Amendment

Final Chapter In Judicial Selection Commission List Public Records Case

by Robert Thomas, Inverse Condemnation, May 25, 2015

As the Star-Advertiser reports here ("State pays newspaper for nominees battle"), Hawaii Governor David Ige has signed a bill which appropriates funds for the State to pay a portion of the legal fees and costs incurred by the Star-Advertiser during its lawsuit which compelled former Governor Neil Abercrombie to stop keeping secret the list of judicial nominees which the Judicial Selection Commission presents to the governor.

We represented the Star-Advertiser in that case, which took several years to fully resolve because of a collateral appeal -- ultimately decided in the Star-Advertiser's favor by the Hawaii Supreme Court -- involving the attorneys' fees and costs which are required under Hawaii's public records statute:

Although the newspaper quickly won on the merits of the case, the long dispute over fees raises new concerns "because most individuals do not have the time and/or money to pursue a case like this on their own," he said.

"The Star-Advertiser was able to see this through to the end, even while the governor ordered appeals that delayed the outcome. But the state's reaction to our suit is bound to give pause to those who might think about pursuing open records in government on their own," [Star-Advertiser President and publisher Dennis] Francis said.

State lawmakers in 2014 approved a payment of $70,272.66 to cover the newspaper's initial costs leading up to [Circuit Judge Karl] Sakamoto's 2011 ruling, and this year lawmakers appropriated another $45,000 to cover most of the newspaper's costs during the appeal process. Ige signed the bill authorizing that final payment this week.

Robert Thomas, an attorney with Damon Key Leong Kupchak and Hastert, which represented the newspaper in the case, said the UIPA allows people who successfully sue to make government records public to recover their lawyers' fees and court costs. Thomas said he never believed the appeal by the state was worthwhile.

"I thought this case should have been resolved years ago and been put in the past, but for whatever reason they dug their heels in, and this is how it ended up," Thomas said. "I think it's really unfortunate that the taxpayer had to pick up the tab for this."

Here's some of our past posts on the case:

Normally we'd say "stay tuned," but this is (hopefully) the last chapter in this saga.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii


Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii


Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii